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Petitioning DEFRA Zoos Branch, Wildlife Species Conservation

DEFRA Investigate Search & Inadequate Care of Missing Lynx

I am not an animal activist. However after reading quotes from Dartmoor Zoo's owner Ben in a recent newspaper, I felt compelled to start this petition. 

Flaviu the Lynx was transported almost five hours away from Port Lympne Zoo to Dartmoor Zoo. He was taken away from all that he knew and removed from his parents and his enclosure. It is understandable that over time animals will move on, however what follows shows that maybe this animal was not ready.

Within hours of being in his new cage, Flaviu had escaped by chewing his way out of his new enclosure and entering into the unknown. So far there has been no photo or video evidence to show that, as the zoo claim, they are ‘closing in’ on him.

DEFRA please investigate:

o  The method in which Flaviu was separated from his parents at Port Lympne Zoo. Was it an immediate removal and transportation to a new enclosure at Dartmoor?

o  Original quotes from Dartmoor Zoo Owner Ben: 'Flaviu is a bit of a mummy's boy, so we think he is really missing his mum. That is why he could have escaped last week, because he was trying to get back to her." (BBC News, 11th July) He also told The Sun, 'We think Flaviu is stressed because he's missing his mum. He's a mummy's boy. We hope the recordings and bedding will lure him out.' (The Sun, 12th July.)

o  Zoo posts Blog statement on 13th July that contradicts previous quotes: ‘some have assumed that his escape was an attempt to get back to his mother. However, with regard to animals, and the lynx in particular, the opposite is actually true.’

o  A video interview with Zoo owner Ben Mee shows Ben saying how Flaviu 'obviously felt desperate enough' [to escape] (2.38) and that 'the animals very stressed himself' (3.14).

This is the FOURTH time an animal has escaped from Dartmoor Zoo. A jaguar, and a wolf (escaped twice) from Dartmoor in 2006 and 2007. The zoo owner said then " I'm confident it won't happen again.” All escaped animals were eventually tranquilised by staff and returned to secure enclosures.

What if they find Flaviu deceased from starvation or dehydration, but do not report this to the media? I can’t imagine a zoo would want to announce something negative to the press that could impact them badly.

o   Why were over 35 zoo workers, armed police, helicopters, sniffer dogs searching for Flaviu? This may have caused extra unnecessary stress to the animal and explained why he has not been found since. It seems the correct planning for an animal escape was not in place. 

o  The equipment apparently needed to capture Flaviu is now being requested to be bought through public donations. Surely this is the zoo's responsibility to have equipment prior to an animal escaping, especially with Dartmoor Zoo's track history.

o  The zoo stated that members of the public have been trying to kill Flaviu. Owner Ben said “Idiots are out there trying to snare or shoot” Later he said “I have heard rumours of people wanting to hunt him, and apparently someone has been seen with a gun. I have not seen any of these “professional trackers” but I have been told they have been seen.” - The Sun, 18th July. If Flaviu is found dead, will the blame be placed on these "professional trackers?"

I hope DEFRA can investigate the points mentioned above. I believe that we as the public need to know what is happening in the zoo's we pay to visit.

 

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  • DEFRA
    Zoos Branch, Wildlife Species Conservation


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